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11 January 2007 @ 07:55 am
S vs N [archived]  
When dealing with MBTI I tend to focus on N-types because that is what I, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and the people I deal with online tend to be. I have S-type friends but they tend not to care about MBTI so I rarely talk to them about it.

Recently I realized that a friend of mine who is particularily hard to figure out may be an ISTP. Part of the reason he is hard to figure out is that he's an extreme introvert (the only person I know who is more introverted is an INFP), and he appears to have similar intrapersonal awarness issues to many INTPs I know (and he never does the type of declarations that INTJs and ESTJs are prone to). His reactions are different from everyone around him.

So what I want to know is...

How have you N-types dealt successfully with S-types? In particular, how can INTJ-ISTP friendships be maintained?
Xan: englishspiritonparole on January 11th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I have any friends who are ISTP, but my mother is an archetypal ISTJ and she and I are very close. The shared Thinking function gives us a good common ground and a strong vocabulary for discussion, and since we also share Judging there's a sense of kinship there. Our communication breakdowns always happened in circumstances where my mother would take something literally and I'd mean it figuratively--a classic pitfall in S/N communication. We've improved our communication by accepting that we apply different logic in making judgements, and being more conscious of how the other person will interpret our words in choosing what to say.

This may be easier for the two of us than it would be for others since while we test as different on the S/N dimension, I have some Sensing development and she has some Intuition development. Furthermore, we both think we're defined far more by Thinking and Judging than by the N/S axis--we score extremely high on Thinking and Judging with little development of Feeling or Perceiving skills. She feels things, but her emotion management operates either under the radar or not at all. I feel things and either get upset or decide it's not worth thinking on. She's a bit more Perceiving than I am and I'm a bit more Feeling than she is, but if you were to describe the way my mother and I see the world, you'd get something like this hypothetical metaconversation.

spiritonparole: What is just, what is necessary, and what is sensical are one and the same by virtue of making sufficient logical sense. Distinguishing among the three is pointless and wasteful in both practical and emotional matters matters.
mus_from_uncle: What is necessary and what is sensical are generally the same, except in cases where what is just differs from what is sensical. This distinction is useless in practical matters but useful in emotional matters.
spiritonparole: If by "useful" you mean "conducive to nailing yourself to the cross."
mus_from_uncle: Something like that, and you're one to talk. I do envy your inability to feel jealous of anyone else and your composure in relationships, but your ability to take dissatisfaction out on yourself is legendary.

This is one example of world views from a Sensor and an Intuitor. Obviously I can't speak for every conceivable combination of N and S personalities, but this is the insight I can offer. Apart from that, I'll give the elephant in the living room an nod and point out that you do share two functions: Introversion and Thinking. The more you rely on these to facilitate communication with the ISTP, the better your chances for maintaining the friendship. I find that people generally like to feel that the other party tries to put him/herself into his/her shoes, if only to assert that the friend's perspective is as worthy of consideration as his/her own.
Xanspiritonparole on January 11th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, splendid. I've written "matters" twice in a row. Just ignore one of those...I'm still more than a little hypoxic.
Niblikniblik on January 11th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
The keys here are that the S/N relationship is how we obtain information and the J/P relationship is how we deal with time and the world around us.

As I tend to think of it, the S-type is characteristic of the math professors that ask you to show all of your work.

An attempt at an example: S's need the steps and data to go from point A to point Z. An N recognizes it as the alphabet and is done.

Knowing that, I recognize that I have to list some of the steps of the process. A good friend of mine is an ISTJ and he makes me explain all of the steps so that he can see how I came to my N-based conclusions. After 15+ years, he has finally gotten to where he asks me fewer of the steps. I tend to think of it as having to pass the Inquisition; but, such a thing does help me discover any flaws in the logic I used to get from point A to point Z.
M. Dansonm_danson on January 11th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
I saw that response when I was a teaching assistant in engineering. (There are a high percentage of XSTJ types in engineering.) I've also seen that with my ESTJ friends. They are more likely accept what I say when it is justified like that... but they are also more likely to accept what I say in areas where I am successful. I find that pretty easy to deal with.

This ISTP isn't like that. He's more likely to "nod and smile" than ask for an explaination. In that way he's more like my INTP husband and friends except that I know what types of things are going on in the INTPs' minds and what language they use. I'm not sure what language an ISTP uses.

I think that S-types have rich experiences but because they aren't expressed in abstract concepts I'm having a hard time learning the language. I'm not sure what it even sounds like. The mechanistic and "traditional" approach that so many mbti descriptions put foreward (are mbti profiles usually written by N-types?) seems so dull and colourless yet these people still seem to have extremely satisfying experiences. It makes me think I'm missing something somewhere ... after all, they tend to find my anaysis and conceptial fun to be boring.
hmm... My Ni just piped in... - tricstmr on January 11th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
forgive my grammar flaws.. - tricstmr on January 11th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: hmm... My Ni just piped in... - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
If you do read it... - tricstmr on January 11th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - niblik on January 11th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiritonparole on January 11th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiritonparole on January 11th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Loki: demontricstmr on January 11th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
It's hard...
despite my post/response above.. I have much more experience dealing with ESXP's and could give more input there...

Basically.. long-winded or even relatively short-winded abstractions just don't usually connect with S's... they don't "see" these abastractions as real on a fundamental level.. their world isn't composed of "systems" per se.. but rather of things/situations/moments/actions... (I know this is all probably stuff you know..).. but I have really come to experience how profoundly different this can be...

Example--when My partner (an ESFP) and I listen to the news--and here about the latest crap going on in our political system--she immediately is outraged and wonders what she can do right then to change it--whereas my reaction normally is internal and "oh--yet again, my model of the system is found to be correct" and when I then express this sentiment.. I can see that I need to be careful not to then go on a long exposition about the entire model in my head--replete with historical examples of all the times that such things happened in the past--when I don't see her immediately latch onto my abstract summation of the event..

Instead--more successful has been then to take the tact of "that is true--and this just fits a pattern that has been there for awhile--so what do you think you and I can do about it... what steps can we take to rectify it..." and then try to work with that..

Keep the realm in the real-world.. and Se's will be far more productive...

as for ISx"'s... it's harder because they don't speak up as much... and you litterally may have to become more of an ENTJ and command them to contribute ..
Xanspiritonparole on January 11th, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
Re: It's hard...
Your last point makes a lot of sense. I didn't stop to consider that aspect of the relationship dynamic. I test as INTJ, but Introversion is by far my weakest trait. It's pretty easy for me to "break on through to the other side" and call upon the typically Extroverted skill of ferreting information out of people through coaxing and investment of personal time.

I do this with my mom all the time, as a matter of fact. To get her to talk about something that is bothering her, you really need to invest a solid few months in slowly penetrating her defenses until she finally sees the utility of talking about it. With me, that doesn't happen. If you absolutely need to know something, I'll tell you up front. If you might find it useful to know something, I'll tell you when the information becomes relevant. If you have no need or use for the information, or I simply don't want you to know, I won't tell you at all, no matter how much you pickaxe away at my psyche.
yes... - tricstmr on January 11th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ex_greymaide85 on January 11th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
I married one. I'll let you know if it works out.
M. Dansonm_danson on January 11th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
*smiles* I hope it goes well.

The friend in question is well liked by everyone but not really understood by anyone. That doesn't seem to bother him. It would drive me bonkers if I was in his position.
(no subject) - night_princess on January 11th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
That.... - tricstmr on January 11th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: That.... - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Fabulous! - malterre on January 15th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Princess of the Nightnight_princess on January 11th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
> how can INTJ-ISTP friendships be maintained?

Music, movies, and food. That's basically what I do with my ISTP friend: we go out to concerts, watch movies, and eat food. Back when there were more Ns in the group, we used to play games as well (Settlers, Carcasonne, bridge, spades, etc.), but when the N ratio dropped down to 50%, it became clear that the SPs weren't enjoying the games (to the point of very subtly sabotaging them).
Xanspiritonparole on January 11th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
I love Carcasonne, and we also have about six different Settlers games and expansion packs. Settlers takes a lot of time, though, so I rarely am able to play...too many other activities and projects on my plate. I thought Judging types were less likely to enjoy long-winded games than Perceiving types, as they're typically less concerned about time and deadlines.
long games are the best... - tricstmr on January 11th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m_danson on January 11th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiritonparole on January 12th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m_danson on January 12th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiritonparole on January 12th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - night_princess on January 13th, 2007 07:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Beanbeandelphiki on January 11th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
he appears to have similar intrapersonal awarness issues to many INTPs I know (and he never does the type of declarations that INTJs and ESTJs are prone to)

This is sorta off-point, but would you mind giving an example of what you mean by both "intrapersonal awareness issues" and "declarations"? I'm relatively new to MBTI, and while I've read as much as I've got time for, that's not ringing bells - although I have the sense that I might recognize what you're talking about with an example.

M. Dansonm_danson on January 11th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
They aren't really MBTI technical terms.

By "intrapersonal awareness issues" I mean awareness of internal state. For instance, many INTPs have difficulty determining what they subjectively want, like, and feel. This can manifest in unexpected emotional outbursts, self-esteem issues, and/or simply having difficulty expressing a personal preference or opinion.

By "declarations" I am refering to how both INTJs and ESTJs tend to express strong (and often loud and strident) opinions about how things should be or are. Opinionated is a word I'd use to describe both INTJs and ESTJs (... and probably xxTJ types in general).

Does that help?
.fahreeq on January 11th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
"In particular, how can INTJ-ISTP friendships be maintained?"

Uhh...perhaps large quantities of alcohol? :P

I'm just playing! My boyfriend is an ISTP. The S/N difference has been the most challenging one for us. I've had to accept that it's easier for me to understand him than it is for him to understand me. So I've used that knowledge to understand his reactions to things around him, and that sort of thing.

I've learned to save my N-type wangst for the LJ and other friends. Not only does he tend to come up with solutions when all I want to do is vent, but it's so hard to explain how that part of my mind works to him. There are just certain things that are better shared with other people.

I've been teaching myself how to "go with the flow" more and not plan every single detail of everything. When he says he'll be over around 2, I make myself not get all worried and call until at least 3.

We try to balance going out and staying home. I tend to get more frazzled by noise and crowds than he does. When we do enjoy an evening in, we sometimes watch House -- he's just like House, but he shaves more often. :P .
Princess of the Nightnight_princess on January 13th, 2007 06:47 am (UTC)
> Not only does he tend to come up with solutions when all I want to do is vent, but it's so hard to explain how that part of my mind works to him. [...] I've been teaching myself how to "go with the flow" more and not plan every single detail of everything. When he says he'll be over around 2, I make myself not get all worried and call until at least 3.

I recognize a lot of that in my ESTP partner. There have been so many times I've had to stop him when he jumps in with solutions. ("Stop. I don't need you to go fix it. Just listen.") Over the years, I've also had a whole lot of practice rephrasing things, trying to find a way in which he would understand them, and I've found the exercise to be very interesting. (My partner is highly intelligent in his own way. If he doesn't understand, it's because I haven't found the right way to say it.) As for the tardiness, I just have to say thank goodness for mobile communication devices (pagers and cell phones).
intj_mom on July 9th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
S vs N
I have a hard time relating to S types. I have a childhood friend, we're more acquaintances now, who is very clearly S. She has her Xmas house lights all planned and scheduled for installation by October. Her husband is a multi millionaire land developer and she is very into having her home look like it was designed for a magazine shoot. Her house is decorated to the hilt for every holiday. She is very into personal appearance and fashion as well. I am not into any of those things. Plus, there's at least a 40 IQ point gap between us. I tend to think of her as rather shallow and obtuse, she seems to think of me as esoteric and enigmatic. But we both have kids so that's some common ground. Though, she tends to look through rose colored glasses and seems to think she has to project a facade of perfection. It's like taking a positive outlook to the extreme. All 6 of her kids are perfect, her husband is perfect, her marriage is perfect. She's perfect. Her life is perfect. Of course, I'm sure it's not - everyone has problems here and there of one kind of another, that's just life. I always wonder what she is hiding and why she thinks she needs to hide it.

I got her to take the humanetrics online test, she said it came up ESFJ for her. But, she said she didn't think a lot of the typelogic.com description fit her. All the negative stuff was just way off, in her opinion. I had her look at ESTJ and I've not heard back from her. But I have a suspicion that she'll say the negative side of any type doesn't fit her since she seems to be way into projecting a facade of perfection. I don't expect that she'll have much interest in the MBTI, I told her I wouldn't push it. If she's interested in PUM2 or any other info, she can ask. Otherwise I won't bring it up again.
John Jiao WangJohn Jiao Wang on August 22nd, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
Re: S vs N
INTP here. From finishing the first paragraph, I immediately thought "ESFJ".

From finishing the second paragraph, I am left with "yup, definitely an ESFJ." The part where she won't

I really don't understand ESFJ's at all, but I can point out patterns.
1. Maintaining a positive facade.
Healthier ExFJs would do this in a way such that it's "having a positive attitude about things." Unhealthy ExFJs may go to extremes to the point where they are just kidding themselves about the harsh truth. And third common type of situation in which facades are put up by ExFJs is when they wish to conceal private information about their lives. Said private information, is usually in the category of "would make her look bad if revealed to untrustworthy folk" or "very emotionally upsetting and dramatic information which by cultural law must only be revealed to one's closest friends".
2. Subject to great pleasure and impulses when dealing with frivolous temporal artsy things, especially when said artsy things are associated with a tradition/holiday/event i.e. Christmas lighting.

Other tell tales of ESFJ:
Great awareness of good/bad etiquette, takes importance in holding dates with their friends, exaggeration/twist of facts when telling stories about the past or themselves in order to make a certain subjective appeal during conversation(my ESFJ mother would brag about a my performance in an event or achievements very often.. but most of the things she said weren't true at all P: ).

Anyway, I think my post is pretty off topic because some of these issues are ExFJ vs. xxTJ.